A practice used for Church growth is bringing non-believer friends to church so that they'll like what they see and join the church.

Now, the questions are:

  1. Did this ever happen in the New Testament?

  2. If not, when did this practice start?

When I look at NT, I get the impression that:

  • The church is a gathering of believers

  • Believers are asked to go OUT into the world to preach

  • I've never heard of this practice. However, Christians do allow people to see the hope we have and give others an answer for that. A relationship with Jesus does bring hope and healing and forgiveness. We never point people to ourselves--only to Christ.
    – Narnian
    Dec 2 '14 at 19:25
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    I'd imagine that's the same process that's used, e.g., to bring people to SCA meetings, or Chess Club meetings, or Student Government meetings, or just about any meetings for that matter. Dec 2 '14 at 19:41
  • @Narnian Our pastor encourages it, and so have the other three churches we've been part of.
    – Zenon
    Dec 2 '14 at 20:08
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    I'm sure it's existed throughout history to one extent or another. I'd say that it's been popularized by the modern evangelical movement, but I doubt anyone is going to be able to pin it down beyond that. As far as whether or not it's a Biblically correct practice, that's off-topic here. Dec 2 '14 at 20:14
  • @Zenon Yes, but the purpose is not to show them how cool we are. That was in the original question.
    – Narnian
    Dec 3 '14 at 13:56

This practice is mentioned in the New Testament, specifically in 1 Corinthians 14:

23So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, 25as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”

This is clearly talking about how believers ought to behave in a worship setting, for the sake of unbelievers, so it is assumed that unbelievers will, at least at times, be present at the believers' worship gatherings.

  • Good find! I never noticed how this verse implied that there were unbelievers in meetings.
    – user10620
    Dec 3 '14 at 7:48

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